Category Archives: Displaying

Museum Visit to Bankfield, Halifax

In these days of budget cut backs and squeezed spending in the heritage sector, it is always nice to go to a good military museum. If that museum is free to walk around, has a fantastic temporary exhibition and is on your doorstep then all the better! I am very fortunate that a few miles from where I live is Bankfield Museum in Halifax, home of the Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Museum and currently hosting an award winning temporary exhibition on the Great War.

The Duke of Wellington’s museum has been here for many years, but has been refreshed and updated many times. It covers the history of the Regiment from its earliest days until it was absorbed into the Yorkshire Regiment in recent years. Display cases show uniforms, weapons, equipment and items related to Regimental history with a small number of tableaux to add to the mix. This is really well done with loads of information and lots to look at (Imperial War Museum take note- we want to actually look at objects not play with a touch screen!). Among the highlights are the Duke of Wellington’s boots (yes the original wellington boot) and a reconstructed WW1 dugout. From the Second World War onwards, you can pick up a little speaker and hear veterans stories from those who served with the regiment at the various battles.

The top floor is playing host to a wonderful exhibition on World War One, sadly this is only a temporary exhibit and will only be available to view until 2018. There is a good selection of objects, the M08 machine gun and pre-war Duke of Wellington’s uniforms being amongst my favourites, and a lot of information on how the war affected people in the local area. There is a research room and some fun dressing up clothes for the younger visitors, but the emphasis is very much on the objects and stories from the local area. Some of the uniforms in the main display case are reproduction, unavoidable with originals being over 100 years old now, but this doesn’t detract from the power of the display and the repro items are clearly flagged up to avoid confusion.

I cannot recommend these exhibitions too highly, with the current squeeze on culture these sort of initiatives need all the support they can get so please go along and enjoy the museum if you possibly can- the more we use these facilities the less likely they are to be closed down. As an aside if you are also a fan of the Old West, there is a second temporary exhibition on this open until about April.

For more information about visiting please look here.

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World War Two British Tommy’s Kit

As mentioned yesterday, last weekend I was at the Yorkshire Wartime Experience. As part of my preparation for this, I pulled my kit out of the loft and thought it might be informative for readers to see the full set of kit worn and carried by a British Tommy in the latter half of WW2. Obviously this should not be taken as gospel, but this is what I carry onto the field and is representative of the period (please click to enlarge):BritKitWW2Many of these items have been dealt with in greater detail on this blog in the past, but I feel it is informative to see the sheer quantity of equipment worn and carried. (Please note that I realised after taking the photograph that I had forgotten to include a couple of grenades as well!)

Displaying the Collection

Virtually all collectors want to display their collections so they and others can enjoy them. The biggest issue that all collectors face fairly quickly is space! There is never enough room for all your collectables to be out on show so you have to pick your favourites for display. I tend to swap my collections round periodically so I get something new to look at and enjoy.

There are many different ways to display your militaria collection. Some like to take a minimalist approach with just a few choice pieces in a display case. I take the opposite approach and build a jam packed display full of items. My aim is to get an overall balanced look that shows off my pieces, is interesting to look at, and has lots of things to spot.

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Obviously i cant display all my collection, so on the opposite side of the loft I have a space full of poly boxes with some more of my uniforms in them. I must confess it doesn’t look the best and at some point the aim is to add some curtains to hide these:

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Small flat objects like documents and photos can be very hard to display. One display I have simply uses a picture frame and some felt that let’s me display a few of these:

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Many of these small items can be stored in the little drawers stationers sell for offices to use for paper storage. I have a set my employer was throwing out and they hold hundreds of small items like badges, buttons and documents:

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